UK ‘making progress’ on cyber security – but more work to be done

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The UK is making good progress when it comes to protecting it citizens, businesses, and critical infrastructure from the threat of cyber attacks, but there is still a lot more work to be done in order to ensure the country remains safe.

This is according to Mark Sayers, deputy director of National Cyber Security Strategy at the Cabinet Office, who told a conference last week that the UK is "in a good place" as it reaches the halfway point of the strategy, which was initiated in 2016.

He noted that many of the key building blocks that will help improve the country's resilience against these threats have been put in place, with the creation of the new National Cyber Security Centre at GCHQ one of the biggest early successes.

This has helped bring together the best intelligence and technical expertise into a single authority, which has resulted in world-leading research being done in its first two years of operation.

However, Mr Sayers said that country cannot afford to rest on its laurels if it is to successfully defend against ever-more sophisticated attacks.

"As the threat from criminals and nation states continues to evolve, we must keep innovating and stepping up our game to rise to the challenge," he said. "The key to achieving this lies in the strength of the partnerships that we create and our ability to demystify cyber security."

While awareness of the risks posed by cyber security threats is now high, it remains a challenge to translate this awareness into action. Mr Sayers said that at the moment, too many people regard this as too difficult, or opt to view it as someone else's problem.

Therefore, the government is making it a key priority to help company boards better understand the risks that they face and what steps they can take to meet these challenges, as well as provide leadership in their organisations to ingrain security in the company culture and mindset.

Other areas of focus in the coming months will be to close the cyber security skills gap and help manufacturers ensure that all products and services are secure by design – something that will be particularly important as more connected Internet of Things devices come into use.